Simultaneous estimation of SAR, thermal diffusivity, and damping using periodic power modulation for MRgFUS quality assurance

Sven Nouwens*, Maarten Paulides, Johannes Lindemeyer, Lukas Sebeke, Ricky van Kampen, Holger Grüll, Maurice Heemels

*Corresponding author for this work

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A crucial aspect of quality assurance in thermal therapy is periodic demonstration of the heating performance of the device. Existing methods estimate the specific absorption rate (SAR) from the temperature rise after a short power pulse, which yields a biased estimate as thermal diffusion broadens the apparent SAR pattern. To obtain an unbiased estimate, we propose a robust frequency-domain method that simultaneously identifies the SAR as well as the thermal dynamics. 


We propose a method consisting of periodic modulation of the FUS power while recording the response with MR thermometry (MRT). This approach enables unbiased measurements of spatial Fourier coefficients that encode the thermal response. These coefficients are substituted in a generic thermal model to simultaneously estimate the SAR, diffusivity, and damping. The method was tested using a cylindrical phantom and a 3 T clinical MR-HIFU system. Three scenarios with varying modulation strategies are chosen to challenge the method. The results are compared to the well-known power pulse technique. 


The thermal diffusivity is estimated at 0.151 mm2s–1 with a standard deviation of 0.01 mm2s–1 between six experiments. The SAR estimates are consistent between all experiments and show an excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) compared to the well established power pulse method. The frequency-domain method proved to be insensitive to B 0-drift and non steady-state initial temperature distributions. 


The proposed frequency-domain estimation method shows a high SNR and provided reproducible estimates of the SAR and the corresponding thermal diffusivity. The findings suggest that frequency-domain tools can be highly effective at estimating the SAR from (biased) MRT data acquired during periodic power modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2283388
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023

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© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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